21 December 2009

Fabulous Fabric Gift Tags

Brooke over at Inchmark posted a lovely tutorial for gift tags made with fabric scraps. Being as I realized a little too late that I needed to give C's teachers gifts, I thought these would be perfect.

I did find that the project was a little trickier than I was expecting. I'm not the best paper crafter so I think that slowed me up. That combined with not being able to find quite the right adhesive (Tombow permanent adhesive ended up working best, but I used 2 rolls and still ran out. Spray adhesive was too messy and glue stick, well I didn't have any) and I spent about 3 hours making 60. Good thing they turned out cute.


the two unnamed girls

A friend contacted me and asked me to make dolls for her twin girls. She had asked that they have little houses/nests/sleeping bags of sorts to rest in; a banana for one and a pea pod for the other.


They turned out rather cute. Their little cocoons are pretty basic, but when the dolls are nestled in them they look pretty cozy.


The dolls themselves are made from a recycled wool sweater with pretty fabric to make the dress/body. The hair on both of them is wool, but they're stuffed with fiberfill. I sort of feel like the hairline on the black haired girl is off and she looks a little funny, but when I tried giving her bangs it was a bit of a disaster so she stayed like that. In retrospect, maybe she needed a side part and a ponytail instead of pig tails.


What's funny though is that I name almost all my toys. They usually have a little tag with their name and a short back story like "I love to jumprope and I think bugs are gross." or the like, but this time I just plain forgot to name them. Hopefully these two girlies don't stay unnamed for very long.

The Christmas Quilt Finally Finished...Almost

I think I might have too many responsibilities in my life to keep up a crafty blog. Between my personal journal, our family blog that we post for OOT family members, reading everyone else's crafty blogs, catching up on message forums and facebook and actually crafting (not to mention those pesky things like children and housework, lol) I just don't know if I'll ever be able to post regularly.

At any rate, it's been busy, busy here as I prepare for Christmas. Some years I only do handmade gifts and other years (like last year) I get awesome deals on cool stuff through co-ops and get to take a break. This is year is a crafty year and I'll be sharing those pictures after people receive their gifts (not that any of those people actually read this blog).

Most importantly, the Christmas quilt is finally almost done. The saddest part is that I don't love it.


I didn't realize I didn't love the direction it was taking until the blocks were pieced and I was trying to arrange them. Once I got to that point I realized something wasn't working for me. I love all of the pieces separately, but someone the whole is less than it's parts.


What I do love about the quilt is:

A: The back. I think it turned out much more pleasing to the eye than the front.


B: The free motion quilting I did along the border to spell out Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas.


I used my friends frame and quilting machine for it and I must say that it was amazing and I am coveting one now. I suppose first on the list is getting the motherboard for my machine fixed before I start planning on how to spend thousands on another machine.

What's left to do is adding little french knots to dot the "I's" and using a few beads to decorate the little tree I quilted into the corner to take up the space where the words didn't quite meet.

All the fabric I used in this was from Michael Miller's Christmas collection last year, with some Ta-dot mixed in. I have plenty left over though and am thinking some matching pillows and a table runner might be in order. Maybe in time for Christmas next year.

28 August 2009

I'm not dead.

Okay, I read lots of crafty momma blogs and and I just don't get how they craft, blog and parent during the summer. We've been almost reclusive by normal summer standards (did you see how much Soule Mama has gotten out this summer?!) and I still haven't updated any of my blogs in two months.

So you'd think that, given how longs it's been, I'd have something fabulous to show you, right? WRONG! All I have the the best blog post on color theory that I've ever read.

I'm new to Oh, Fransson! but I'm really enjoying peeking around and seeing what she has to offer. Even if you think you understand color theory her post is full of pretty quilt examples and fabrics so go read it. I promise I'll have something good soon.

19 June 2009

The Christmas Quilt


Wait, what? A Christmas quilt in June?

Yes, a Christmas quilt in June, but I'm actually behind, not ahead of the game.

I bought some Michael Miller Christmas fabric from a coop last summer. I thought the fabric was fabulous and bought a lot and than realized there was nothing I normally made that would necessitate 11 yards of Christmas fabric. Cue quilting music. So I spent an afternoon at a friends house looking through her quilting magazines until I found something. I had intended to make it for last Christmas, but it didn't get done in time (obviously) so I finally started on it last week. I got all the blocks pieced together and I laid them out and I'm just not happy with it. It's hard to look at and something is off. I've decided that the border fabric isn't right so I've sent off for some more evergreen ta dot in hopes that a darker border fabric will make the difference. Stay tuned for the finished results.

17 June 2009

crafty kids

Carter has been asking me to sew for ages. He watches me sew all the time and knows the ins and outs of my sewing machine (Have I mentioned my new machine? I bought it from a friend and it's leaps and bounds better than my old machine. I'm very much in love with it.) He knows what the pedal does, how to put down the presser foot and lift it up. He'll stand on the back side of my machine and lift it up and down for me. If I get up he hops in my chair and tries to take the bobbin in and out and messes with the thread to rethread the machine, twirls knobs and all sorts of cute and horribly annoying things.

Some time ago we went to the fabric store and chose some fabric for him to make a pillow. We were finally able to sit down today while Oz was napping and sew. He sat in my chair and I raised the pedal up so he could reach it. He sewed the entire pillow, stuffed it and then worked with me to close up the opening by hand. He was so proud of himself.



Watch the video, it's super adorable.

The finished product.

14 June 2009

sometimes handy is crafty

One of the biggest reason's for my absence from blogging these past few weeks (besides spending four days reading all four Twilight books while ignoring all manner of household chore, barely meeting the basic needs of the kids and eschewing sleep) was that we half finish our basement. It's still in it's raw stages and is certainly the least saucy room in the house, but it's serving it's purpose until I can do more.

My dad, who is the king of all trades and home improvement projects, came down to help me. I prepped the basement by reorganizing the bad side (what we affectionately call the side where the workshop and washer and dryer are) and moving all the good side furniture over, painting the walls and buying the supplies.

Once he was here we hung the drop ceiling, which I had never done before, but I proved to be somewhat useful. We had to make a million runs to the store and work around the kids, but we ended up turning this:

okay, i'm going to have to search for old pictures, but trust me, it was ugly

into this:



I have grand plans to use some Joel Dewberry Ginseng home decor weight fabric to recover the couch and chairs, plus there are curtains to make for the windows, art to hang and pretty baskets to buy for the shelves, but overall, I'm feeling pretty craftyhandy!

21 May 2009

some experiments succeed (sort of)


Part of what made me think I could just wing the Boden shirt was making this tank top. I had a vision in my head and some extra jersey laying around and decided just to have a go at it. The front and back were cut identical and I went back and altered the neckline of the front. The collar is just a strip of leftover fabric I twisted will sewing on and tacked in place along the neck and at the bottom of the bust. The straps tie in back.

I had difficulty getting a good picture of this shirt. The early morning sun and my camera were not getting along. I'm pretty sure the shirt doesn't appear as shiny in person. I thought about giving it up and trying later in the day, but I knew I'd get something on it before then and a big stain on it wouldn't do. The color is truest in the close up picture. The necklace is by Ali of Kissum Up. I'm not sure she ever stocks there anymore, but she does occasionally stop in at Venus Vanguard.


What was worse was the back shot. I knew it felt a little snug, but when I saw the back side I promptly took it off until I could figure out a proper undergarment to wear to get rid of all those lumps. Why must bras dig into back fat?


20 May 2009

some experiments fail

After my relative success with the last gauzy shirt I decided to try my hand at making this shirt featured in the Boden's summer catalog (If you're not familiar with Boden you really should go look. They have the most fantastic clothes. Some things are overpriced, but some things are very reasonable. Bonus is that they carry up to a US 18).

Mistake number one was using my final fabric right away instead of making a muslin pattern.

I used a old shirt as a pattern for the size and just eyed up the cut of the neck and the length. I added as much extra fabric for gathering across the bust as I had fabric to do. The yoke was cut from the shape of my bodice piece and the sleeves were copied from aforementioned old shirt.

I put the yoke on first and it turned out rather nicely. I used elastic to gather along the waist.

Mistake number two was forgetting that the underbust measurement that I took did not accomodate for my ample chest.

All of those extra inches I included to make the gathers only served to actually make room for my nursing boobs and I found the fabric to be stretched tight instead of attractively gathered.
I also failed to realize that my chest would bring the resting position of the elastic higher up in the front than on the rest of my body so it droops in the back. This can be remedied, but it will involve the tedious task of ripping out all of those triple stitch zig zag stitches.

Mistake number three (which is really mistake number four) was not remembering that the old shirt was stretched out in weird places from a nursling pulling on it all winter.

The armholes ended up being too big because of this. I'm not exactly sure how i'm going to go about fixing this, but I'm confident I'll find a way. In the end I'm sure I will have a wearable end product, but I will definitely remember to make a mock up out of muslin the next time I try to draft my own shirt pattern.

18 May 2009

wool shorts

I know some people don't care to knit in the summer, but I do. I suppose it's mostly out of necessity though. If I didn't knit in the summer I'd never get anything done and the baby needs wool. I had planned on making Oz four pairs of wool shorts for this summer season, but realized some wool from Carter would fit him and I made a pair out of a upcycled sweater so I think I'm only going to knit three pair. I'll also need to make a pair for my BFF's baby girl. This is the first completed pair:


These were knit with Three Irish Girls Lindon Merino in her Liam colorway. I knit them on 7's even though it's an aran weight yarn as I like the stitches to be tight when used for the purpose of keeping urine of my jeans.


I used a trim yarn to Huckleberry Knits' Flying Fish colorway (which is what's on the needles right now) as it happened to match the gray perfectly. I love when things work out that way. I also tried out a new crotch gusset. It's functional, but it doesn't look quite right. I used a k1f&b increase. Anyone know what I did wrong?


27 April 2009

a perfect summer blouse

At the beginning of last summer I picked up Simplicity 4177 intending to make myself shirts for summer. With a newborn and a spirited toddler I never got around to it (imagine that). However, this year, with all the ease (HA!) of having a 1 year old and a 3 year old I found time.


This pattern was so easy. I used a lightweight gauze and I think it'll be perfect for hot weather. I thought it would be see through, but I'm pleasantly surprised with the sheerness. Not a peep show, but just enough to be a little sexy (well as sexy as you can be in a peasant style blouse). Once it was mostly assembled I discovered that it was a tad too short for my taste so I searched through my stash in hopes of finding something to add as a trim. I finally settled on a lightweight woven that my sister brought back from Tanzania. Inspired, I made my own bias tape for the neckline and used it for the ties as well.


I imagine that by the end of the summer people will be tired of seeing me in this shirt because I pretty much intend to live in it.

the birth quilt


Before my second was born my friends were nice enough to plan a blessingway for me. Unfortunately, Oz had his own plans and came three weeks early so by the time my blessingway rolled around he was already a week old. We held it anyways and just shifted it's purpose a little bit.

At other blessingways I've attended we'd always made birth necklaces for the pregnant momma. While reading Birthing From Within there was a section on blessingways and it mentioned a quilt. I thought this fit me perfectly so I requested that each of my friends make a quilt square. While some of them complained a little, in the end they all made something great. The only problem was that since Oz was already born I was in no hurry to sew it up (having a newborn and all). I told myself I'd finish it up before he was one and I just squeaked in under the wire (he turns one tomorrow and I finished it yesterday).



Let me say this though, I am not a quilter. I've made a few in the past and they're not what you would call spectacular. I was nervous about this one, but fortunately I have a fabulous quilter friend who helped me along. The added bonus is that I'm borrowing her back up machine, which just happens to be a Bernina Activa 145s, and it's a million times nicer than my normal machine. This made quilting it much, much, much easier.

Overall I'm happy with the way it turned out. It's not perfect, but it is certainly filled with positive spirit and will surely be a family keepsake.

14 April 2009

i hate when this happens

I hate when a fabric line comes out and I procrastinate on buying it. From the moment I saw Lush by Erin Michael I was in love. When it hit stores I was out of fabric buying money so I waited. And now I want it for a project and most of it is sold out everywhere.

(fabric originally pictured at True Up last december)

So, anyone know where I can find some? I'm looking for a yard or two of either deer print (though I'd prefer moss and really, would take any scraps I could get) and several of the coordinating prints in honey and moss. I like the sky best, but since it's my mom's living room I guess I'll give her the final call.

13 April 2009


This saucy fellow was a custom for someone local. She asked for traditional dress, which I was happy to try out. I think it came out okay, but really doll clothes are the bane of my existence. I love making dolls, but giving them something to wear is another story. I think part of my problem is that I don't have good patterns drafted for all the styles of clothing I want to make. The other problem is just that it's all so small. I hate to admit, but I'm just not that precise of a sewer and those little 1/8 seams and hems do me in. Anyone have a good doll clothes tutorial or tips page?

At any rate, his outfit came out okay, with only one minor error so overall I'll call him a success.

12 April 2009

easter eggs

We didn't celebrate Easter last year, but this year my husband decided he wanted to so I left him in charge of it. It turns out what he really wanted was Easter candy (which I'm pretty sure you can buy without having to celebrate the holiday) and he had no real desire to do any of the traditional things. After limping along in his planning for a week I took over the things that I enjoyed about the holiday, which included dying eggs.


Earlier last week I had caught a glimpse of Martha Stewart's 36 Easter Eggs and decided to try a few techniques out. Just like everything Martha does, they ended up being harder than they looked.

First we tried out the lace eggs. Martha's turned out crisp and beautiful. My first two attempts were barely visible, but my third attempt turned out much better.


Not as crisp as hers, but still nice. We also tried the botanical eggs, but instead of leaves, I made some cutouts of Mater and Lightning McQueen as those were much better suited to the egg audience in this house.


Our last try was the marbleized swirls, but they turned out nothing like hers so I overdyed them with teal since that seemed to cover all manner of sin. All in all, we ended up with a lovely bunch of eggs that looked darling on the dinner table.




The problem with being busy is that something always gets pushed to the bottom of the list. In my case, it's crafting. Creating is my favorite thing to do, but all of the other things in my life seem to get in the way. I run this along odd line of being completely unmotivated and distracted and being incredibly determined to make and do things. I end up waivering back and forth between extreme productivity and hours wasted playing solitaire at two in the morning.

I've been thinking recently about how to better manage my time can complete all I want to do. With crafting, my solution was to blog what I'm doing. My hope is, that if someone is reading about what I'm making and following what I'm doing, I'll feel some sort of accountability to finish projects and branch out a bit more. So, here's hoping.

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